While abridged, this amazing full cast rendition of “The Hobbit” was a thoroughly enjoyable listen, and I highly recommend it. It’s complete with a musical score, sound effects, and Bilbo breaking the fourth wall to talk directly to the audience as if he’s recounting his tale right out of his “there and back again” memoir. I thought it was a neat artistic touch that Bilbo often interrupts the narrator of the book to give his own opinions, and all the dialog is taken directly from the original material.
The recording has a charmingly old auditory sound, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was listening in on one of the clay-mation Christmas specials that play on CBS during the holidays. Be warned, this audio version is nothing like Peter Jackson’s epic movie, and while there’ll always be a place in my heart for the actors in those films, I liked the way the characters’ personalities were represented in this recording.
I especially enjoyed Bilbo; his voice actor did a fantastic job of showing his character evolution over the course of the book. He starts out breathless, chittery and absolutely bowled over by the dwarves bossiness. But by the end of the audio book Bilbo, while still a bit breathless and chittery, is more sure of himself, standing up for himself and making plans that save the dwarves from their own demise more times than not.
This was a charming little listen that even comes with a CD of music at the end. While I still need to go back and do an actual read of “the Hobbit” for class, I thoroughly enjoyed this listen on my commute back and forth to work this week.